Congrats, Pitt tax petition a nice idea

Comparing this year with 1997, because that year is the earliest I have records for, my property taxes have risen more than $1,400.

Editor, The News:

Re: Pitt sticks to four per cent (The News, July 6).

I was beginning to think that I was the only one who noticed that property taxes in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are, year after year, rising.

However, Tom Murray’s recent comments on the subject indicate that, in fact, there are two of us.

Comparing this year with 1997, because that year is the earliest I have records for, my property taxes have risen more than $1,400.

It would have been more if the home owner grant had not been increased during this period.

Taken on its own, this increase may not seem to be excessive, given that it is over 15 years. However, during this same period the average wages of Canadians has remained relatively static, it now costs me more to commute in my subcompact Toyota than it did in 1997 in a full-size pickup truck. My house insurance is up by one third and ICBC rates have nearly doubled.

In the same edition that Mr. Murray’s comments appeared, there is news that Pitt Meadows is supporting an initiative to set up a new ‘slush fund’ for what is called “pan municipal services.” This fund is another line of spending by the GVRD that allows both local  councils to shrug off tax increases as ‘beyond our control.’

I am not targeting the present incumbents at municipal hall, as this is a situation that has existed for the past several decades, as far as I can ascertain. What is bringing matters to a head is the stagnation in wages over the past 10 to 15 years, plus the inescapable fact that, unlike income and most consumption taxes, property taxes are a compulsory tax that takes no account of an individual’s ability to pay.

In our case, our modest home is where our children were born and grew up. Our home is an integral part of our memories, and we have many friends in the immediate neighbourhood. I consider that the schemes available to defer taxes or take out mortgages to pay taxes are a reprehensible way to pass on debt to our descendants just like our provincial and federal governments do.

There will only be any chance for a change in municipal tax policies when the majority of residents get off their derrières and vote in people who have a mandate to make changes.

I personally do not think that Mr. Murray’s petition will have the slightest impact on the situation, but he should be congratulated for trying.

John Cochran

Maple Ridge


Four per cent a year ‘crazy’

Editor, The News:

Re: Pitt sticks to four per cent (The News, July 6).

Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters seems to think that a four percent increase in taxes for the next five years is reasonable. Is she crazy?

Homeowners are going into the fifth year of bad economic times with virtually no pay increases. All of us have had to cut our spending in one area or another to make ends meet, yet Mayor Walters doesn’t care.

We can all cut our expenses a little more, so the city can continue to spend as it pleases. Over these past few years the city has made no attempts to bring costs under control.

Need more money? Just raise property taxes.

I wonder what effect it would have on the budget if every Pitt Meadows senior deferred their taxes? The information is on the back of your tax bill.

Archie Blankers

Pitt Meadows


Paying for it

Editor, The News:

Re: Out of touch (The News, July 11).

I totally agree with M. Hanczik. A few years ago, Pitt Meadows didn’t have any debt. The answers from politicians are always the same, ‘taxes are manageable.’ Naturally they are manageable, because if city bureaucrats require more money, they just increase taxes.

Projects like the new library and bailing out that bankrupt hockey arena should only be undertaken if these ventures are self-sustaining.

I have lived in Pitt Meadows for more than 25 years and have never used the library or the hockey ring. If minorities require these facilities, let them pay for it. If I want to play golf, the city does not finance my passion for the sport, I pay for it.

The problem with today’s politicians is, they all use the same stupid comparisons: we are not as deep into the hole as the neighbour city or village. That seems to be the norm these days: if people are not deep enough in debt, let’s get some more credit to buy stuff we don’t really need. I guess Europe hasn’t been in the news enough? Maybe they should see how many cities in California are bankrupt.

Lance Felgnar

Pitt Meadows


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